Saban and Kiffin both don’t like what they are seeing, read and find out what is alarming them
Why Alabama Could Be a Prime Candidate For Another Loss
By: Larry Burton
After the loss the Ole Miss, Alabama have been giddy with the relatively easy wins over powerhouses Georgia and Texas A&M, but there are dark omens that lay in reality that shows the Crimson Tide could be a prime candidate for another loss against an SEC opponent.
Despite the relative good play of the defense, the final scores of many of the games, especially the Texas A&M game are hiding the ugly fact that the Alabama offense is one of the worst in the entire SEC. Remember, 21 of the Tide’s 41 points came from defensive touchdowns, not offensive might. Without those points, Alabama may have lost that game against the Aggies.
All season long, I’ve written about the dismal third down conversion rate for the Crimson Tide and it hasn’t improved despite Alabama now having settled their quarterback question.
Presently, Alabama coverts just over 32% of their third down conversions. That ranks them dead last in the SEC. That’s right folks, dead last, as in worse than Vanderbilt, worse than 2-4 South Carolina. That is a factor that all coaches know is one of the most important in making sure your team winds up on the winning end of things.
And speaking of the new quarterback, Jacob Coker has thrown 6 interceptions in 7 weeks, a number that places as the third worst quarterback in the SEC in that department. Though he made it through last week without throwing an interception, he didn’t throw a touchdown pass either. But it’s clear, Coker needs to continue to concentrate on preventing turnovers.
His quarterback rating 132.94, a rating that places him 8th out of the 14 starting quarterbacks and in total offense per game, Alabama ranks number 6 with 430.1 yards per game. Clearly this is middle of the road stats at best and these are the bright spots. But what about the good rushing yardage a fan may ask, where the Tide is ranked there in the SEC? The answer again is, middle of the pack, ranked number 6 out of 14. So even the thing the fans think the Tide does best on offense isn’t that outstanding.
So what are the offensive bright spots? Where does an Alabama fan turn to glass half full instead of half empty? In total yardage earned by an offense, the Tide ranks number 2 right now, just behind Ole Miss. At least they do show some balance and have proven they can move the ball both ways while some teams remain one dimensional. And though as alluded to earlier, the defense for Alabama has chipped in some mighty big points to the overall tally, Alabama is second in the SEC in total scoring.
Still, the stats posted here so far are alarming to the staff on the Alabama team and they know that a team like LSU with a solid defense, could be a real problem if they can in fact limit the Alabama running game as Jacob Coker hasn’t proven himself to be the kind of quarterback you can place the ball in his hand and expect him to win the game.
But if the Texas A&M game is a harbinger of things to come, if Coker can just do enough to move the chains and allow the running game to do it’s thing without an interception as they did in that game, then they stats could dramatically change by season’s end. Especially because of the following defensive stats:
Scoring Defense: Number 2 in the SEC
Total Defense: Number 1 in the SEC
Most Interceptions: Eddie Jackson with 5 ranked number 1 in the SEC, but 6 Alabama players have interceptions, no other team has more
Rushing Defense: Number 1 in the SEC
Passing Defense: Number 5 in the SEC, something the Tide hasn’t done this well in for a while
So while the defense is the real bright spot for Alabama, the offense is still very much a work in progress and a weapon still very much in doubt as compared to the other SEC teams. If improvement doesn’t come, it could be the prime reason for another SEC loss.
Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter
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